Climate contrarians spinning hard with stolen email files

Fri, 2009-11-20 13:33Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Climate contrarians spinning hard with stolen email files

I’ll admit, as someone who spends most days looking for leaked documents, the package of stolen emails and documents from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University is pretty juicy. Anything that provides insight into the inner-workings of your opponents is pretty much manna from heaven in this line of work.

I have been going through all the files today and I hate to disappoint but it just ain’t the scandal climate conspiracy theorists want it to be.

These emails are blissfully being spun by the climate contrarians as proof of some type of worldwide conspiracy by scientists to fake the climate change crisis. Michelle Malkin, who relishes Ann Coulter-esque statements, goes so far as to call it “the global warming scandal of the century.”

Right.

As Brad Johnson writes, it’s more likely proof that climate deniers are the crazed conspiracy theorists we always thought they were.

At the center of the conspiracy claim is a quote in a casual conversation between colleagues talking about Mike’s Nature “trick.”

They are referring to the Michael Mann hockey stick study from ten years ago that has been the subject of attacks by climate skeptic bloggers for many years now. In fact, it got so bad that the US National Academy of Sciences was called in by the US Senate to look further into the validity of the Mann study.

Unfortunately for skeptics the NAS exonerated the Mann study, finding that:

“The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years.”

More importantly, and this is related directly to these leaked emails that are supposed proof of some massive conspiracy, the NAS concluded that:

“Surface temperature reconstructions for periods prior to the industrial era are only one of multiple lines of evidence supporting the conclusion that climatic warming is occurring in response to human activities, and they are not the primary evidence.”

In layman terms this means that the Mann hockey stick study is only one of many studies and many lines of evidence that shows that the climate is warming. Even further, they point out that the Mann Hockey Stick isn’t even a primary evidence source.

As for the Mann “trick,” I would be very impressesd that this “trick” was never detected by the NAS report. As Mann himself explains today on Real Climate, the “trick” being refered to is that, “scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem,” rather than something that is “secret,” and so there is nothing problematic in this at all.

What people like Malkin and others don’t understand is that the evidence for climate change is based on decades of research that builds and builds into a solid foundation from which conclusions can be drawn.

It is not the house of cards they want us to think it is. And while these emails don’t look great, they are in no way “proof” that climate change is not happening. It just isn’t the grand conspiracy they think it is.

Comments

I knew the green washing on this one would be good, Kevin you never disapoint. Although the e-mail links you refer to are much more damaging that you admit. Perhaps climate change is too neutral a term with all the Pr positioning that goes on, maybe you should rename it the Climate Shuffle.

I like how your article ignores the extremely damaging information posted on other blogs and skips right into generalities.

Here’s one part of your article that really peaks my interest. “I have been going through all the files today and I hate to disappoint but it just ain’t the scandal everyone wants it to be.”

So you are to have us beleive that this morning you read 1079 emails and 79 scientific documents. You must be the rain man as I have been pouring through this stuff and I haven’t been able to go through 5% of the material.

Here’s one quote from an e-mail to Keith Briffa, I haven’t seen to many places yet, this will add some sex appeal to the desmog coverup.

For climatologists, the search for an irrefutable “sign” of anthropogenic warming has assumed an almost Biblical intensity. The leading figures of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), claim that, in all probability, they have seen it. Last summer [ed: 1996], the IPCC’s scientific working group, chaired by former UK Meteorological Office boss Sir John Houghton, concluded that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate”. But it is like the “balance of evidence” suggesting BSE causes CJD. The judgment is far from “beyond reasonable doubt”. The case remains “not proven”.

To be fair the e-mail is from october 1996 but well after the intial 1992 climate accords.I guess the science is “not proven”. A good PR man knows when he is beat and at least concedes a little bit of the truth otherwise the spin is too unbelievable for the public to consume.

Maybe it’s time for the IPCC to admit they have great doubts about mans effect towards climate and enter into an honest and open engagement of sceptics and the public? Everyone afterall wants to make the best decision on sure information.

Maybe there is an honest explanation for all of this? Perhaps the IPCC has been bought out by “Big Oil”?

Great PR piece though, you are a true master!

As I said in a previous comment, this is illegally obtained, definitely “excerpted” and possibly manipulated private correspondence that is being unethically disseminated by the Denialosphere.

So far, if the revealed correspondence is correct and even faintly in context, it seems like we have PROOF that real climate scientists privately find little to respect in their denialist harriers. Hardly surprising and neither is the fact that they casually discuss their scientific and administrative opinions. Scientists are people too, apparently.

As has been observed elsewhere it’s enlightening to see Watts, McIntyre et. al. enthusiastically reveal about others what they have doggedly hidden about themselves. I wonder what we’d see in their hacked mail boxes?

And therein lies your problem. Much of the public perceives scientists as kind of “above it all”, objective to a fault etc. However, these emails if true, or even partially true, reveal scientists to harbour petty vindictive instincts.

You guys are missing the big point of this, which the public will not: Scientists are not as objective as we held them up to be.

So, if I’ve done a carefully designed experiment and took great are to publish your results in a clear and understandable manner, and someone simply decides to just ignore it by sending me a bunch of boilereplate talking points, then I shouldn’t be angry at all? Then if I’m angry, then I’m guilty of “petty vindictive instincts” and lack of “objectivity”?

– bi, http://frankbi.wordpress.com/

Angry? Is that all you think is in these emails? The most disturbing element is the collusion on how to stop skeptic scientists from getting papers accepted in peer-reviewed journals. One thing is for sure the debate will never quite be the same after this.

“These emails don’t need spinning, they ‘spin’ themselves”

It seems _you_ are the one trying to spin the e-mails against the climate scientists.

Otherwise, why do you keep making extraordinary claims about collusion and vindictive personalities, without bothering to even quote the original e-mails leading to these claims? Perhaps it’s because the raw material doesn’t even begin to remotely support your wild claims?

– bi, http://frankbi.wordpress.com/

I’m not going to quote the emails, you can read them for yourself.

Let’s say hypothetically that a group of scientists entertained the idea that they should refuse to submit to or cite from papers published in Journal A, unless that journal stopped publishing “bad” papers.

No problem right, in a way they are kind performing a public service (at least in their own minds) letting that journal know their “standards” have slipped.

The problem with this idea is that this group has elected themselves the judge of “bad”, to the point where journal editors should pass their approval.

Call it what you want, but I call this collusion to influence the editorial boards of scientific journals.

P.S.: Try reading the email “1199999668.tx” to see how subtly corrupt the whole peer-review process has become.

You just can’t stop trying to blare out your own interpretation of the “raw evidence”, can you, eh Mr. “the evidence speaks for itself” Klapper?

Repeatedly pinning while vehemently denying you are spinning anything?

“I’m not going to quote the emails, you can read them for yourself.”

No, you _can’t_ quote the e-mails, because the e-mails simply don’t say what you insist that they say.

– bi, http://frankbi.wordpress.com/

klapper said….”Let’s say hypothetically that a group of scientists entertained the idea that they should refuse to submit to or cite from papers published in Journal A, unless that journal stopped publishing “bad” papers”

you said….”No, you _can’t_ quote the e-mails, because the e-mails simply don’t say what you insist that they say.”

michael mann said…” I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a
legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate
research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also
need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently
sit on the editorial board…
and thats not even the suggested article # klapper suggests you find. Frank,its hard to make stuff up when its all written down FOR EVERYONE TO SEE. i guess that’s why scientists used to make their data available to everyone, to see if their theories checked out. when you need to use the FOI to try to obtain this stuff something is usually amiss. why wouldn’t they release their stuff? i think we didn’t need these e-mails to go public to really know. it just confirmed what everyone already knew. so tell me again, why didn’t they want their data public?

In one e-mail, the center’s director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University’s Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science.

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,” Jones replies

these were “carefully designed” allright.

why dont you ask him for it ben because this of course is the most pressing issue right now for you hacks. its amazing to me that you could read these e-mails and feel that the first thing that needs discussing is wonderment of spencer’s e-mails.just amazing ben…….

indignant ben? ha

All e-mails were taken out of context. Peer review works when we are the only peers. Real numbers are those that we choose to be real numbers intill we choose other real numbers. Anyone who disagres with the above statements is being paid by big oil - end of topic. Really guys, on this information you need to desmog yourselves.

Just read the statement @RealClimate, glad they got it up so quickly.

The fall out will be (and has been) predictable and rapid,… obviously.

As usual one side will be paraded by the “skeptic faithful” like some religious icon while the obvious will be overlooked. The only way to get the “real” story would be to see e-mails from the opposing side offered for balance.

But then “balance” has never been the deniers intention has it…..

Personally I think now, more than ever, the “well oiled” hypocrisy of special industry intersts promoting and highjacking this “fake” debate on the skeptic side needs to get into the publics eye.

The sooner the un-scientific lunacy from deniers is exposed, for what it truly is, the more obvious just how frivolous this “revelation” will be and this affair will pale in comparison.

But then “balance” has never been the deniers intention has it….no it hasn’t been. the deniers are about analyzing facts not altering them. I must admit you guys really have cajones tho. if you read the same e-mails i did and these are your “comments” then they may be bronzed as well.
and let me tell you…..getting this in the public’s eye is what we are most excited about.
peace, rich

Thanks for the comment.

I did see some of the mail and read comments on a few different sites like WUWT, CA and also all of what has been posted at RealClimate. It’s also hit some major papers like the Gaurdian, etc as Kevin notes.

No question it could well be seen as a major coup but if you read my post above, “On second thought” you’ll be able to see what I started to realize about the whole thing.

I don’t feel it was handled at all well by Mann and the others but then I’m not overly impressed by some of the methods the skeptical side has used either and the documentation on fossil fuel participation is an area that hasn’t received much worldwide press yet, at least not at the level of exposure this is bound to give it.

The old adage about glass houses and throwing stones comes to mind.

I know I am seing a bit of a shift in the number of folks asking questions because they see what is going on with weather and the fact that there are so many global headlines may well be the straw that breaks the skeptic camels back.

Case in point. I spent most of today helping neighbors move livestock and personal possesions due to the flooding here on Vancouver Island, I live in the Cowhichan Valley. A lot of folks here,and many, many were impacted, mentioned global warming. I spoke to 3 couples about the growing El Nino event and the connection to AGW. Let’s just say Jim sold a few more books today and my e-mails are adding up fast for links to websites and related data. If they all tell 2 friends word will spread. Kind of a greassroots thing….. ;-)

Time will tell I guess but I see far more reason to see this as a positive pro - AGW issue than a negative. I’ll stick with that for now and do whatever I can to raise awareness.

I suspect that will likely seem quite silly to you but we will both be able to live with that I’m sure.

All the best.

Cowhichan Valley floods every year.
El nino is influenced by the global ocean conveyor belt.
You alarmist are real drama queens.
The global ocean conveyor has a major role in climate as does the Sun.
The planet has been cooling since 1998, that was a major concern with the alarmists scientists.
They have lied, manipulated, massaged the data since day one, and this is just another instance of them getting caught.
Phil Jones was the IPCC go to guy for the so called data.
He cried and whinned every time his work was analyzed and the flaws were exposed. He finally refused to release the data, even FOIA has failed to get anything out of this group.
But to top it all off, they made a claim of Anthropogenic (man made) Global Warming caused by C02.
This they never have proven, and you expect the citizens of the industrialized nations to fork over 30 percent of their wealth to bankers via a Enron carbon trading scheme ?
All the while sending all technology and jobs to India and China who by the way are having no part of this nonsense ?
Isnt that the place where all the multinational corporations have scrambled to set up shop these past 15 years ??
Cmon people wake up! Your are pushing us to a real shooting war between ourselves.

Thank you for posting this. I looked earlier in order to have something to throw at the Right’s spinsters on Digg. Have been running from story to story linking your blog.

I was a little down when this first broke, thinking “oh no, this will give them exactly the ammo they have been waiting for!”

Then it hit me………. “Pride is before a crash”

This has gone from the blogosphere to frontpage news in a matter of hours. Now the parties from both sides are in the spotlight and the denialists are inviting the world.

When Mann has to defend his actions he’ll have the opportunity to explain the frustration of the denialist BS and a few of those spotlights will settle on you know who and those behind him.

I’m not saying what went down was right or wrong just that an opportunity most folks here have been praying for, for a l-o-n-g time is now at hand.

Got to go, I feel a couple of backflips comin’ on!

“ain’t the scandal climate conspiracy theorists want it to be”

Meanwhile, Tom Harris of the International Climate ‘Science’ Coalition is going to ask for money, and global warming ‘skeptics’ have been “silenced” in a conference in the sense that there won’t be a conference session specifically dedicated to them:

http://frankbi.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/integrity-affiliates-allies-and-being-silenced/

And there’s the concern troll “Surely” trying to smear the CRU scientists with innuendo, while painting himself as an even-handed observer:

http://scienceblogs.com/islandofdoubt/2009/11/the_hacked_climate_science_ema.php

– bi, http://frankbi.wordpress.com/

It is amazing that so many people/things are “in on this conspiracy to show AGW” such as:

1) UAH, RSS, and GISS
2) Rapidly warming Arctic
3) Rapidly decreasing sea ice extent
4) Rapidly thinning sea ice
5) Rising ocean heat content
6) Cooling stratosphere
7) Net increase in downwelling LW
8) Net decreasing TOA LW emission
9) Increased species migrations/extinctions
10) Increased severe weather occurrences
11) Glacier mass loss and retreats increasing
12) Rising sea levels
13) etc., etc., etc.

All this happening with the biggest conspirator yet: rapidly rising human emissions of GHGs that have not been seen in millions of years.

I guess all of the these things also “got the emails” and decided to play along.

gul·li·ble – adjective easily deceived or cheated.

Also, gul·la·ble.

Oigin:
1815–25; gull 2 + -ible

Related forms:

gul·li·bil·i·ty, noun
gul·li·bly, adverb

Synonyms:
credulous, trusting, naive, innocent, simple, green.

GREEN; synonyms: naive, simple, and the winner…GULLIBLE.

We, the benighted, may benefit from additional definitions for:
Fraud, Hoax, Malfeasance, Licentiousness, ad infinitum.

I truly hope the AGW spin machine has a ‘limited slip differential,’
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traction_control_system
otherwise this furious activity will burn out the bearings without the generous application of an evil petroleum-based lubricant.

If the end of the world is such a slam dunk, (without the high-minded, well-compensated efforts and contributions of the Climate Warriors mind you), why the lying, cheating, concealing, manipulation, etc?

Perhaps the answer lies with Sir John Houghton (overseer of the IPCC’s first three assessment reports) “Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.” (page 294, 2nd paragraph, last sentence; Christopher Horner’s “Red Hot Lies”).

Well, you got your DISASTER!

“While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand; when falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; and when Rome falls–the World.” Lord Byron

At least Nero didn’t fiddle with the data!

Ocean heat rising? Increased species migrations/extinctions? Melting sea ice and glacier loss? Obviously God is in on the conspiracy. Denialists beware! God is on our side!

Your attempt to invoke The Almighty is consummate blasphemy; this from a devout agnostic.

If He/She is a Christian God this is happening for a reason; part of His/Her plan and above your pay-grade to question. Please provide the link.

I’ve been unable to find any comments from The Goreacle, Dr James Hansen, and sundry other demi-gods. Might you help there as well? www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=513195

As a Christian, I doubt that God gets all uptight over a mild joke; however, She is on record as disliking liars very much.

And why are you providing a link to a nasty smear article?

you are christian who refers to God as a she? i thought the she god was gaia. perhaps you tilt thy hand

You don’t know much about Christianity, do you.

what if you got your ocean temp data from mann et al? can we be sure they are correct?

Kevin, you have learnt from the masters of spin themselves- Climate scientists.

This is what the NAS Panel concluded.

Spurious Principal Components: McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) [actually McIntyre and McKitrick 2005a] demonstrated that under some conditions, the leading principal component can exhibit a spurious trendlike appearance, which could then lead to a spurious trend in the proxy-based reconstruction. To see how this can happen, suppose that instead of proxy climate data, one simply used a random sample of autocorrelated time series that did not contain a coherent signal. If these simulated proxies are standardized as anomalies with respect to a calibration period and used to form principal components, the first component tends to exhibit a trend, even though the proxies themselves have no common trend. Essentially, the first component tends to capture those proxies that, by chance, show different values between the calibration period and the remainder of the data. If this component is used by itself or in conjunction with a small number of unaffected components to perform reconstruction, the resulting temperature reconstruction may exhibit a trend, even though the individual proxies do not.

i.e The Hockey Stick is a statistical artifact.

And this is what the Wegman report concluded.

While the work of Michael Mann and colleagues presents what appears to be compelling evidence of global temperature change, the criticisms of McIntyre and McKitrick, as well as those of other authors mentioned are indeed valid.
“Where we have commonality, I believe our report and the [NAS] panel essentially agree. We believe that our discussion together with the discussion from the NRC report should take the ‘centering’ issue off the table. [Mann’s] decentred methodology is simply incorrect mathematic

The papers of Mann et al. in themselves are written in a confusing manner, making it difficult for the reader to discern the actual methodology and what uncertainty is actually associated with these reconstructions.
It is not clear that Dr. Mann and his associates even realized that their methodology was faulty at the time of writing the [Mann] paper.
We found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling.
Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.
Generally speaking, the paleoclimatology community has not recognized the validity of the [McIntyre and McKitrick] papers and has tended dismiss their results as being developed by biased amateurs.
The paleoclimatology community seems to be tightly coupled as indicated by our social network analysis, has rallied around the [Mann] position, and has issued an extensive series of alternative assessments most of which appear to support the conclusions of MBH98/99… Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface.
It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent.

i.e. Mann is wrong, McIntyre is right.

So far, the only people ‘outraged’ over the supposed ‘fraud’ ‘revealed’ by the e-mails are the usual trolls and their concern troll sockpuppets.

– bi, http://frankbi.wordpress.com/

it’s because a little cheating by the climate scientists doesn’t bother you much.

an old geology professor of mine used to say..” i think we found a fault in your fault-line”. i thin k we found one in your ‘foundation.’ see thats the problem with cheating, fudging and dishonesty in science..it effects everything.

These e-mails simply add fuel to a growing firely debate. The issue is not whether climate changes is happening or not, bur rather what are the root causes to climate change. There are enough red flags waving in the breeze this day to question the validity of CO2 emissions being the driving determinant for climate change such that government officials need to take a valium, sit back, and re-examine where they are going and on what basis they are heading in their current direction.

To me one of the root causes for my position lies in the fact the ICCP is a group put together, funded and controlled by the United Nations (perhaps THE most politically motivated group on this planet) AND that their mandate was NOT to determine the causes for climate warming, but rather to prove that climate warming is a result of man’s activities. (That is the same as asking the police to prove a certain person is guilty of a crime rather than look broader to find the criminal.) Certainly arriving at the conclusion that climate change is not due to man’s activities would simply negate any effort to redirect wealth for the “have’s” to the “have-not’s”. If this effort did not exist, why did the UN integrate the set-up of the Kyoto protocol with the Rio Conference which was to open a dialogue between North and South? (ie the “have’s” and “have-not’s”.)

A third issue I have with the ICCP is the fact they do not list water vapor as being a greenhouse gas on their list of such gases (see their web site). Water is the most prevalent determinant for climate on this planet and yet they discount it’s role entirely. Water vapor has a radiative forcing that is more than twice that of CO2. Redently scientists that have measured the water vapor content of the atmosphere have deduce the amount of water vapor increase has been about 1% per year over the past ten years. The CO2 increase over the same period has amounted to 0.4% annually. What would therefore have a greater role in affecting temparature increases over this period, water vapor or CO2?

The disappearance of the arctic ice in recent years cannot be attributed to a 1 degree increase in ambient temparature. There simply is not enough energy in such an increase that would caue the melting of “old” ice in such a short time. In fact climate scientists have voiced a concern as the ice has been melting must faster than their models predict. Meanwhile during this period of ice melt, Mt. Blanc in Europe and Mt. Logan in North America have both recently had their elevations increased due to the significan accumulation of snow in recent years - hardly what I would say is an indicator of serious global warming. What these observation ssuggest ot me is the sun’s radiation has a greater role in the disappearance of glaciers and polar ice caps that does CO2.

The publication of the hacked e-mails simply support the contention that there is indeed an agenda behind the climate change controvrsey and greater effort has to be made to determine just what that is.

In most jurisidictions, if e-mails were made public which suggested a consiracy or cover-up in some fashion, do you not think there would be a public outcry for a full public investigation? Certainly there would be - but in this case all is quiet on the “climate front” and we all have to not only wonder why but be concerned that there isn’t one.

[x]
High-speed train

Aggressively tackling global warming through better public transportation and increased energy efficiencies could increase global GDP by between $1.8 trillion and $2.6 trillion annually, a new report has found.

Released on Monday, the report by the World Bank and the ClimateWorks Foundation said tackling global warming now would also save as many as 94,000 lives a year from pollution-related diseases and reduce crop losses.

The report —...

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